Phoenix police are investigating a potentially volatile case: one that involves reports of a fetus briefly surviving an abortion. Police confirmed the investigation after anti-abortion protesters staged a vigil for the fetus over the weekend, though authorities have offered no confirmation that the fetus spent any period of time alive outside the womb, reports the Arizona Republic. Much about the case is unclear, but some of the facts are known: The Phoenix Fire Department responded to a medical call on Friday at a building where abortion provider Family Planning Associates operates. "Someone present there believed there was movement, or might have been movement," says Sgt. Trent Crump.
A fetus was taken to the hospital, but it had "no fetal heart tones" and was pronounced dead upon arrival, say police. State law forbids abortions after a fetus could survive on its own outside the womb, about 22 to 24 weeks, and Crump says the procedure appears to have taken place within the legal time frame. The local Medical Examiner's Office opted not to conduct an autopsy. Protesters say they heard of the case through a 911 dispatcher and gathered Saturday night at Banner-University Medical Center—the group Pro-Life Arizona has photos of the scene—where the fetus was transported. (Read more abortion stories.)